September 14, 2021
Jeweled rice, a Persian dish traditionally served at weddings, is named for its rich colors. This dish combines a variety of seasonings and ingredients for a tangy, nutty fusion of flavors. Over 200,000 Persian Jews call Israel home, bringing this unique dish with them to the
Holy Land and even customizing it to the Jewish state. For example, many Israelis of Persian descent enjoy this dish on Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year), adding pomegranate seeds for an extra pop of color and sweetness.
2 cups basmati rice
2 Tbsp salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
Peel of 1 orange, sliced into thin strips
3 Tbsp sugar
1 cup carrots (about 2 medium), sliced into thin matchsticks
1 large onion, diced small
¼ tsp saffron threads, crumbled and soaked in ⅓ cup hot water (can substitute turmeric)
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cumin
⅓ cup chopped dried apricots
⅓ cup golden raisins
⅓ cup dried barberries or goji berries, soaked in warm water for 5 minutes and drained (or use ⅓ cup dried cranberries)
⅓ cup sliced or slivered almonds
⅓ cup roughly chopped pistachios
- Rinse the rice several times in cold water through a sieve until the water runs clear. Bring 3 quarts (12 cups) of water to a boil in a large pot with 2 Tbsp of salt. Add the rinsed rice and boil for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, then drain well in a colander.
- Place ½ cup of water, sugar, orange peel, and matchstick carrots in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 6–7 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and set aside for later.
- Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, season lightly with salt, and cook until softened, 4–5 minutes. Stir in 1 Tbsp saffron water, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, black pepper, and cumin. Cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the apricots, raisins, barberries (or cranberries), and the orange peel and carrot mixture.
- Melt 4 Tbsp butter in a heavy-bottomed pot, over medium heat. Spread half the par-cooked rice over the bottom of the pot. Spoon over the onion–fruit mixture, then the remaining rice. Leave the pot on the flame, uncovered, for 5–8 minutes to gently brown the rice. (Do not stir or move the rice. You will need to rely on your nose to tell if the rice has browned.)
- Excerpt from an article by Noga Martin, Israel Hayom via JNS5.Drizzle the remaining saffron water and the liquid from the orange peel and carrots over the rice and cover. Adjust the heat to very low and leave undisturbed for 30 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let rest at least 10 minutes.
- Toast the almonds and pistachios in a clean, dry skillet over medium heat. Gently toss until evenly browned and fragrant. This should take about 3–5 minutes.
- To serve, spoon the rice into a wide bowl or platter. Sprinkle with the toasted nuts, and enjoy.
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